5 Rules Your Fantasy Football League May Be Missing


If you are just starting out a fantasy league, there are a ton of resources out there for establishing fantasy football constitutions and bylaws (otherwise known as the “League Rule Book”). These all give you the basic areas that should be covered in your rulebook, and give you a starting point for what will become a MUCH larger set of rules in the future.

If your league already has a live Constitution though, here are some key rules you may want to consider adding (if they aren’t already there):

  1. Democracy: Adding/Change Rules & The Required Votes
    If the Commissioner gets power hungry, and just start adding and changing rules willy-nilly, like some sort of dictator, owners will get both annoyed and suspicious. The more owners have a say in how the league evolves, the less friction there will be for the commissioner. In my long-time league we have separate voting requirements for “New Rules” and “Changing Old Rules”. This allows for adding fresh ideas in an easier and faster way, and secures the “If it Aint Broken, Don’t Fix It” adage to prevent change for the sake of change.
    For example:
    - Any new rule will require a majority rule vote of at least 7/12.
    - Any changes to an existing rule will require a 9/12 vote.

  2. Total Points Scoring for Double-Headers
    In our article titled “Preventing Collusion & Throwing Games in Your Fantasy Football League” we recommended the idea of using Double-Headers. An often overlooked rule is towards the treatment of scoring of games regarding its reflection on “Total Points For/Against” a team. Since you play two games in one week, your score will be essentially doubled. Since a lot of leagues use “Total Points For” (in a season) as a playoff tiebreakers, it should be decided ahead of time whether the doubleheaders count just once or if you total the two scores.

  3. Treatment of Injured Reserve (IR) During the Off-Season (Primarily For Keeper Leagues)
    When the season concludes with the Fantasy Super Bowl, a lot of teams may still have players stashed in a separate IR slot.
    In our keeper league, we give teams the choice to either drop these IR players, or else make room and shift them into a standard active slot. This assures that all teams have an equal amount of players on their roster (and don’t unfairly have more players to choose from) when it comes time to designate their keepers.

  4. Tie-Breakers
    Tie-breakers have to be dealt with in a variety of scenarios beyond just a single game. There will be ties in games, which you may choose to simply allow teams to tie. However, there will have to be tie-breakers to deal with determining who advances in the playoffs (eg two or more teams have the same record right before the post-season), as well as tie-breakers for games that take place in the post-season. Make sure your rules are clear on what happens in these scenarios. You should also make sure to always have an out (usually a “Coin Flip Determination”) in the case teams tie in multiple categories. For instance, we had two teams tie in a Playoff game, where the tie-breaker was determined by 1. Head-to-Head Record / 2. Total Points Scored in Season / 3. Common Games. The teams oddly had tied exactly the same in all of these categories, but luckily our 4th determination was a coin flip.

  5. Blanket Clause to allow Veto of Trades / Sneakiness
    As a commissioner, it’s best to stay out of owner’s ways when it comes to making judgement calls on trades. However, just in case the scenario ever comes up, it’s wise to have something dug into the league rules on how to handle such a situation. The best approach is a statement as such:
    ”Any trade or suspicion of collusion taking place may be brought up to the commissioner for vote, and can be vetoed by a 70% vote by the rest of the league.” You should also decide whether the teams in question are allowed to vote. Hopefully this situation will never arise for you, but having this clause will give a method for dealing with the matter in a fair way.